Century-old schoolhouse severely damaged in fire CENTRAL Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

A two-room school believed to be more than 100 years old was extensively damaged yesterday in an early morning fire of undetermined origin.

The Meadow Branch School on Hughes Shop Road, was built in the late 1800s and used as a school until about 1935, according to Joan Metcalf, the owner of the 60-by-24-foot brick structure.


Deputy State Fire Marshal Frank M. Rauschenberg said "the blaze apparently started on a porch and burned inside causing extensive damage to the books, furniture and other articles stored there."

He said the cause of the fire still is under investigation, but noted that "electricity to the building had been turned off several years ago."


Mrs. Metcalf, whose mother, Helen Roop Rinehart, once taught in the little schoolhouse, said, "The building was used for farm meetings until the late 1940s but has been used only for storage in recent years."

She said old school books, desks, chairs and benches remained in the one-story structure.

An old cradle and a hand-crank record player were stored in the schoolhouse, Mrs. Metcalf said.

Mr. Rauschenberg said he was unable to immediately determine the amount of damage.